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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : DODGERS : Hernandez Could Go on Disabled List After Injuring His Back While Running

April 06, 1994|MARYANN HUDSON

Backup catcher Carlos Hernandez said he sprained his back while running before the game. He was examined by team doctors and might be put on the disabled list today if he isn't better.

"I have to call (the trainers) in the morning and let them know how I feel, but it is very sore," Hernandez said. "I have never had a back problem before."

It would be a blow to Hernandez, who recovered recently from shoulder surgery and played well this spring. If he goes on the disabled list, Tom Prince will be called up from Albuquerque.

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Manager Tom Lasorda has four small birds, which he calls his "infield," in a cage in his office. The birds were given to him by Roger McDowell, the cage by Kevin Gross.

The story behind the birds:

On the last night of spring training, McDowell and Brett Butler had planned to tie up a sleeping Lasorda in his room at Dodgertown, then let the birds into the room. It was reminiscent of a prank by former Dodger Jay Johnstone, who once roped up Lasorda, took the telephone receiver so he couldn't call for help, then tied the doorknob to a palm tree.

This time, however, Lasorda unwittingly outsmarted McDowell and Butler by staying up too late. They waited until about 1:30 a.m., but his light was still on. So they gave up and brought the birds to Los Angeles, where they presented them to Lasorda as a gift.

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It was the first opening day for backup shortstop Rafael Bournigal, so why not get a new haircut? Bournigal said if he made the team, he would shave his head. So, McDowell shaved him bald in the clubhouse before the game.

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When Chan Ho Park and Lasorda appeared together in the Dodger dugout before the game, it caused a media crush of international proportions, attracting Korean-, Spanish- and English-speaking media.

The attention caught Park off-guard, and his interpreter, Don Yi, was being interviewed by himself somewhere else, so Lasorda helped to interpret, in unusual fashion. The Korean media took care of themselves, but the Spanish-language media needed help. Lasorda doesn't know Korean, but he speaks Spanish. So he translated the Spanish questions into English and then simplified the questions for Park. It actually worked.

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